Freelancing can be an incredibly rewarding career, but it can also be a real character-builder. It generally takes a lot of time and effort to reach the level of financial wellbeing and personal life freedom that attracts many people to freelancing. Of course, it’s a journey worth taking; along the way, it’s important to make sure that mental and emotional health remain optimal.
Discard any discouragement. No matter how experienced you are as a freelancer, searching for freelancing opportunities can either be enlightening, or frustrating. Enlightening in that it might spark an interest in pursuing a different niche. Frustrating in that you might either see lots of jobs, or no jobs at all. You could send your resume out 10 times and not receive one response.
If it seems as though you just keep hitting walls in your job search, don’t let discouragement creep in. It’s a real waste of energy to spend what’s supposed to be your work day glaring at your inbox instead. Understand that gaps in work are just going to be part of the freelancing process at some point or another, no matter how well-known you become in your niche. Instead, consider working on various freelancing side gigs until another project comes around.
Overlook being overwhelmed. Then again, you might find yourself in the enviable-yet-stressful freelancing situation of having too many projects. If you’re struggling financially, it might seem like the logical choice to take on more projects than you can probably handle. Not only can choices like that result in a faster rate of burnout, your work can suffer and clients might not pay.
If at all possible, aim for one or two lucrative projects instead of many smaller projects that would add up to a similar payment. This way, you can devote your attention more equally and efficiently to your work.
Don’t get tangled in the time trap. It’s easy to end up getting lost in a project, or even procrastinating getting a project done. Then, all of a sudden, the deadline’s approaching, or you haven’t met an earnings goal, and it’s getting later and later at night…
Have set working hours so that you can build in leisure time/breaks accordingly. Once the clock reaches a certain time in the late afternoon or evening, that should be your cue to stop working. Staying on task does certainly take a lot of self-discipline, but it’s something that, more than most aspects of freelancing, can have the greatest effect on mental and emotional health.
Rewire yourself to a routine. Many freelancers aren’t obligated to work set hours or be at certain locations. If that description sounds like you, then you might find it easy to sleep in, and even stay in your pajamas while working from home. However, that can lead to being unproductive, and even a decline in mental health.
Get up at a set time each working day – of course, it’s great to sleep in on the occasional day or two each week – use that as an incentive! As to your attire, you don’t have to be formal about it, but make sure you don’t stay in your pajamas, either. Get dressed in at least casual clothes, so that you can work comfortably, but also just get up and leave your home when it’s time to take a break from work or run an errand. Speaking of which…
Find a balance between the outdoors and the office. With its focus often on strictly Internet work, freelancing can be an isolating sort of profession. Unless the weather’s really bad, make an effort to leave your home daily, even if it’s just for a walk. Fresh air can do wonders for alleviating stress, and even gaining a clearer perspective so that when you return to working, you’re at your most creative!
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